Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Latest MSC News

As a stem cell researcher, the term "MSC" means, mesenchymal stem cell. For more information on these cells, see

MSC's are again showing up in the U.S. National Library of Medicine database. Some exciting stuff:

-Two rat models showing that these cells can reduce the size of dead brain tissue in both embolic and hemorrhagic stroke. Embolic stroke is where a blood clot makes it's way to the brain and shuts off some of the blood supply to the brain. It's the most common type of stroke. This is a big deal, since the cells were given via IV, an easy way to get cells into the body. What might this look like in the future? A patient has the signs and symptoms of stroke and is seen in the ER. The same clot busting drugs now used to open the area are given to the patient (to restore blood flow), but these drugs are also followed by an infusion of the patent's stem cells (stored on ice in a storage facility). This allows the damage caused by the blot clot to be more limited and helps the damaged area heal. As a result, what could have been a tragedy is now limited to a bad day.

This again underscores that storing your cells for future use is likely to be a big deal in the future. One of the problems with using another person's cells is the fact that recent research shows that it may be possible to transmit genetic diseases (see This study showed that it was possible to give osteoporosis to a normal young mouse by transplanting stem cells from an old mouse with osteoporosis. The moral of that story? Until we know how to screen for all known genetic diseases, use your own cells!